Throughout the storied, yet relatively short, history of computer gaming, there have only been a few games to capture the imagination of players and achieve a significant audience that were not part of the pre-release publisher hype machine. These games were unexpected gems that remain fan favorites even after their time in the spotlight has faded.
One of my favorite games in this category is XCOM UFO Defense from Microprose, which was released in 1994. This game mixed resource management strategy and tactical squad-based strategy into a single game. The game was tremendously addicitive and often frustrating in that fun way games, good ones, can often elicit.
The box contains a single CD-ROM of course, but it also includes a user manual, a special installation supplement, a registration card, and an advertisement for a strategy service. There were several hack programs available for XCOM. You have to fight aliens the best way you can, even if it means some minor cheating.
I think this is one of the most appealing features of XCOM. When you enter into a mission, there is nothing happening. You have to first find the hostile aliens before you can subdue them. The anticipation draws you into the game in a subtle way. A part of gameplay often lost in FPS games.
Tactical squad techniques are a must. Interlocking fields of fire, covering fire, leaving enough movement points for return defensive fire, and having your men squat at the end of each turn are just some of the sound techniques you employ.
Ah, there he/she/it is. Unfortunately, your rookie soliders are very green. Most of the shots they fire in early missions will miss, but the experience will come in handy later on when larger ships start to appear.
Comment and share: Dinosaur sightings: XCOM UFO Defense
By Mark Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin has been writing and editing stories about the IT industry, gadgets, finance, accounting, and tech-life for more than 25 years. Most recently, he has been a regular contributor to BreakingModern.com, aNewDomain.net, and TechRepublic.